The Forgotten Legacy of Free Speech on the ‘Left’

Aside from Bill Maher’s audience – who, as the late Christopher Hitchens once noted before giving them the finger, will “clap at apparently anything” – the “liberals” (heavy on the quotes) in Huffington Post’s social media comments sections represent the single dumbest group of people ever assembled.

In a giant corporate circle jerk, The Huffington Post (HuffPo), previously owned by multinational corporation Verizon Media, is now owned by a combination of Verizon Media and “news” conglomerate Buzzfeed which shamelessly markets itself as “independent media.” The HuffPo/Verizon/Buzzfeed Empire donates heavily to DC Swamp politicians on both sides of the aisle.

It is, in short, Ivy League incest — a very Brooklyn, very upper-middle-class-cosmopolitan white, very woke affair. None of these people’s parents farm corn in Nebraska.

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The ‘Dangerous Speech Project’: The Swamp’s Newest Censorship Project

You’ve heard of “hate speech.” Now introducing a new way to demonize free speech: The Dangerous Speech Project.

Birthed from the bloated bowels of US academia is a cottage industry of speech suppression on behalf of the corporate state.

It rolls out new pseudo-woke virtue-signaling campaigns whenever it gets the chance — the bread and butter of overpaid academics. Mortgages don’t pay themselves.

Enter the Dangerous Speech Project, which ostensibly claims to want to make speech “safer.” It is the brainchild of Susan Benesch, faculty associate at Harvard’s “Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society” and an esteemed Ivy League “Scholar of Speech.”

The project defines “dangerous speech” as “any form of expression (speech, text, or images) that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or participate in violence against members of another group.” Yet, Benesch and comrades offer no way to objectively measure that increased risk of violence.

“Dangerous speech” as a social science concept conveniently lacks any way to objectively measure its applicability in any given real-world situation. This leaves the interpreting to the whims of the censor – perfect for Silicon Valley technocrats (more on that later).

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‘F*cking Blasphemy’ — Ricky Gervais Blasts Protests over Teacher Showing Mohammed Cartoon

Comedian Ricky Gervais has joined the chorus of condemnation against the suspension of a British teacher for showing a caricature of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, questioning whether people will be “punished for insulting unicorns” next.

The creator of The Office and famed atheist took to social media on Friday to rail against the Islamic protesters who are calling for the firing of a Batley Grammar School teacher.

“Blasphemy? Fucking Blasphemy? It’s 2021 for fuck’s sake. What next? People being punished for insulting unicorns?” Gervais wrote.

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Utah Passes Law Requiring Porn to Be Blocked on All Cellphones, Tablets in the State

The free thinking argument, that blows away the notion of illegal prostitution, is that of pornography. Pornography, or porn, is nothing more than prostitution that has been state-sanctioned, taxed, filmed, and distributed. However, because it is taxed — politicians have generally left it alone — until now. Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill Tuesday that calls for all smartphones and tablets sold in the Beehive State to have adult content filters.

If one is truly for freedom, outlawing consensual acts between adults should be resisted — even if these acts involve the swapping of bodily fluids. And, although the state claims the right to kidnap and cage people for engaging in these consensual acts, it does not mean they are somehow immoral.

The Free Thought Project has long objected to the prohibition of sex work as it creates crime, sends sex workers into dangerous situations, and outlaws one of the oldest professions in the world. While the prohibition of sex work is bad enough, the governor of Utah passing a law that will filter out legal pornography on all tablets and smartphones sold in the state is outright tyrannical.

If someone wishes to access porn on their device, they must first get permission from their cellphone provider and they will be put on a list of people allowed to view porn.

According to House Bill 72, the so-called filter would “prevent the user of the device from accessing material that is harmful to minors on the device; enable certain users to deactivate the filter for the device or for specific content; and notify the user when content is filtered.”

Cox said the move would send an “important message” about preventing children from accessing explicit content on the Web.

“We really want to empower parents,” Cox said. “If nothing else it sends an important message.”

But blocking pornography on 100 percent of devices in the state does absolutely nothing to “empower parents.” There are already programs and filters available to empower parents to block porn on devices and they are free. All this law does, as the ACLU of Utah put it “infringes upon the general public’s First Amendment rights to freely access the internet.”

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UK: Govt Islamophobia Advisor Says Images of Muhammad Should Be as Unacceptable as the N-Word

The UK Government’s Islamophobia advisor has suggested that showing images of Muhammad should be made as socially unacceptable as saying the n-word.

Batley Grammar School in Yorkshire in the north of England faced protests this week from Muslim parents, after one teacher dared to show images of Muhammad during class. The school, which was about to break up for the Easter holidays, had had to switch to remote-learning as a result of the protests. The headteacher “unequivocally apologised” for the actions of the teacher in question, and suspended him, despite the fact that he had received a number of serious death threats from angry Muslims.

However, rather than criticising the actions of the protestors for attacking the free speech of the teacher, Imam Qari Asim MBE, chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), and the Government’s adviser on Islamophobia, called for a “change in social attitudes” as a result of the protests, and suggested that sharing images of Muhammad should be as socially unacceptable as saying the n-word:

I guess when we talk of a potential curb or limitation on free speech, I think that sets alarm bells ringing, leaving some people [wrongly] thinking that Muslims are asking for restrictions on free speech. But I think what we should try and emphasise is that there’s already a phenomenon in place in that actually there are boundaries to free speech. Like, for instance, people cannot use the ‘n-word’ – and quite rightly so – because this is derogatory and causes deep pain and hurt. I’m not in favour of restriction and curbing or free speech, but I think we already have boundaries based on social norms.

Asim, despite his relations to the government, also is a trustee for the hardcore leftist organisation, Hope not Hate, who regularly engage in attacks on anyone on the right of politics, describing organisations such as Turning Point as being “extreme.”

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‘Shock and Awe’: Feds Admit They are Prosecuting Jan. 6 Capitol Protesters to Create Chilling Effect on 1st Amendment

Federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin appeared on CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Sunday where he admitted that he charged as many people as quickly as possible regardless of the evidence to put a chilling effect on the 1st Amendment rights of Trump supporters.

“After the 6th, we had an inauguration on the 20th. So I wanted to ensure, and our office wanted to ensure that there was shock and awe that we could charge as many people as possible before the 20th,” Sherwin told CBS News. 

He added: “And it worked because we saw through media posts that people were afraid to come back to D.C. because they’re like, “If we go there, we’re gonna get charged.”’

Sherwin made it clear that the feds went after people who had gone viral regardless of whether they perpetrated any violence or committed any actual crime.

“So the first people we went after, I’m gonna call the internet stars, right? The low-hanging fruit. The ‘zip-tie guy,’ the ‘rebel flag guy,’ the ‘Camp Auschwitz guy.’ We wanted to take out those individuals that essentially were thumbing their noses at the public for what they did,” Sherwin said.

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Biden Justice Department Sides Against Free Speech Advocates in Big First Amendment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments later this term in a case that pits free speech advocates against public school officials who seek to punish students for certain off-campus social media posts. Last week, the Biden Justice Department entered the fray with an amicus brief that opposes the free speech side.

The case is Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. In 2017, a high school freshman and junior varsity cheerleading team member took to the social media site Snapchat in order to complain about her failure to make the varsity cheerleading squad. The student—known by the initials B.L. in court filings because she is a minor—posted a picture of herself and one of her friends with their middle fingers raised accompanied by the text “fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” She was suspended from the team as a result of that post.

B.L. and her parents, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, are now battling the school in court. They argue that the First Amendment flatly prevents school officials from punishing students for such entirely off-campus speech. “In a weekend comment in an evanescent Snapchat message,” B.L.’s legal team argued in a court filing, “B.L. swore in expressing her disappointment at not making the varsity team to her friends. The notion that a school can discipline a student for that kind of spontaneous, non-threatening, non-harassing expression is contrary to our First Amendment tradition, and finds no support in [the Supreme Court’s] student speech cases.”

In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1968), the Supreme Court forbade public school officials from punishing students for exercising their First Amendment rights on school grounds unless the speech at issue “would materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline and in the operation of the school.”

In 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit invoked that precedent while ruling in B.L.’s favor. “Tinker does not apply to off-campus speech—that is, speech that is outside school-owned, -operated, or -supervised channels and that is not reasonably interpreted as bearing the school’s imprimatur,” the appeals court held.

The Biden Justice Department is now asking the Supreme Court to undo B.L.’s sweeping First Amendment victory at the 3rd Circuit. “The court of appeals incorrectly held that off-campus student speech is categorically immune from discipline by public-school officials,” the government argued in a friend of the court brief filed in support of the Mahanoy Area School District.

According to the Biden Justice Department, while some off-campus speech deserves constitutional protection, the 3rd Circuit went too far, unfairly hamstringing school officials, who, the government maintained, require significant leeway when it comes to regulating and punishing student speech. “When the student’s off-campus speech targets an extracurricular athletic program in which the student participates,” the brief argued, “such speech might properly be regarded as school speech that is potentially subject to discipline by school officials if, for instance, it intentionally targets a feature that is essential to or inherent in the athletic program itself.”

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Kentucky bill would make it a crime to insult or taunt police officers

A bill advancing out of a Kentucky Senate committee on Thursday would make it a crime to insult or taunt a police officer to the point where the taunts provoke a violent response.

Senate Bill 211 passed by a 7-3 vote, according to reports. The proposal was a response to riots throughout the country last summer, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, a retired police officer.

Louisville saw numerous violent protests and rioting last year following the Breonna Taylor incident in March. Police had obtained a narcotics related search warrant for her apartment. After knock and notice was provided, police made entry only to be met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was shot in the leg. Officers returned fire, killing Taylor.

This week prosecutors decided to forego charges against Walker, Law Officer reported. Mattingly filed a lawsuit against Walker last October. He alleges that the shot was “outrageous, intolerable and offends all accepted standards of decency or morality.”

The lawsuit accuses Walker of battery, assault and emotional distress.

Meanwhile, Carroll noted the newly proposed legislation wasn’t about limiting lawful protest “in any way, shape, form or fashion,” according to WDRB.

“This country was built on lawful protest, and it’s something that we must maintain — our citizens’ right to do so. What this deals with are those who cross the line and commit criminal acts,” he said.

The bill kept language making a person guilty of disorderly conduct — a Class B misdemeanor — if they accost, insult, taunt, or challenge “a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”

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